Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Image Copyright

In my blog entries, I typically post images to illustrate the content. Sometimes, those images are not shared under Creative Commons Copyright and the site sharing them isn't the actual creator. It is unfortunate when that happens. At times like that, I'm grateful to the copyright holder when they notify me of what has happened.
ASIDE: My first impulse when I read the complaint was to write a stinging reply, to get angry, and to hush it up. As I reflected on that impulse, I realized that this was a perfectly blog moment. It's easy to write about stuff that you do right, but harder when you do something less smart or open to misinterpretation. As a result, I decided writing about this here would remind me of what it means to be a blogger--to make mistakes and be transparent about it. And, as I share above, I am grateful for correction...even if I have to work my way through the stages of denial. 8->
While I can count the complaints from artists on one hand--less than two, even though I have written over 7,000 blog entries over the years--it always makes me feel terrible when I inadvertently step on someone's toes, so to speak. Offering an apology here seems like nothing.

My response to these complaints is to immediately remove the improperly cited image and post a note online here by way of apology. 

Earlier today, I received a complaint from a gentleman in Germany. I'm posting his email in its entirety:
on your blog page http://www.mguhlin.org/2010/04/lady-or-tiger.html you wrongly credit/link my copyrighted image "Crossroads" from http://www.flickr.com/photos/liebermann/580181284/ to http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/Crossroads.jpg. 

It seems to be your custom mode to provide links to image sources. Being a photographer, who gets plagiarized a lot, I can not agree with that.  The only information you provide is where your readers can get a copy of that image. No author information, no copyright/license information. With the image URL you provide, one can not even find the original article the image has been used for.
In my case, http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2008/11/upcoming_talks_science_communi.php actually links to my flickr.com page. 
You neglected this informantion, and a reader of your blog will never find out I am the author, that my image is copyrighted, and where to get my permission to use it. 

Also, as a photographer, I need to get paid. For non-commercial use, I usually grant a free license, comparable to a CC-BY-NC-SA license. But what you provide, is not even an attribution in a CC sense at all. By this kind of negligence, you support a culture of expropriation, of entitlement to plunder others intellectual property, without giving anything in return at all. 

I believe in a culture of mutual sharing and respect - but not one of getting ripped off.
Please reconsider your practise, and please also consider what would be a fair compensation for your use of my work.
Although I won't reflect this image in my blog any longer--although Martin was kind enough to offer permission in a follow-up email--I do want to point you to Martin Liebermann's images:

I hope that sharing this will be a cautionary tale for other bloggers. For the record, I post all my content on this blog under Creative Commons Copyright-ShareAlike-NonCommercial-Attribution. I encourage you to remix it as you see fit.

Looking for Creative Commons Copyright Flickr images but not sure how to cite them? Need a quick Google Image search but it's blocked? Then try one of the following image sources instead!

This web site enables you to search Flickr for relevant images and then cite them appropriately. You do have to have access to Flickr.com, so this is not the site to use that will search Flickr, and then share those images without a Flickr domain prefix.

Similar Images Google Search 

This web site doesn't use the traditional "http://images.google.com" address blocked by so many school district. As a result, it may be one of those sites that technology directors and filtering companies have overlooked, enabling access to wonderful resources. I'm hesitant to include the link here for you since the web censors are reading this blog (and blocking it in some places). That said, it's a great resource to have access to!

Other Image Search Engines
While you can find what appears to be a comprehensive list online at http://www.faganfinder.com/img/ you might also consider these:

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Mark said...

So, did you ask his permission before you published his private correspondence in a public forum? Just wondering...

Miguel Guhlin said...

Of course not, Mark. Didn't I just explain i have a problem with getting permission?

Seriously, though, the goal is education and his email illustrates the frustration folks feel when their copyright is violated. I'm grateful for his sharing...and he'll probably get a whole lot of visitors just to see the beautiful image (and looking at it on Flickr, it is nice!).

Martin Liebermann / zeitspuren said...

So, here's the complaining photographer ...

My goal is not only to protect my business, but to spread awareness of author rights. So, I am happy that Miguel posted this.

Regarding Creativ Commons - I've switched the licensing of my newer works to CC-BY-NC-SA - hoping that this will encourage private use, while preserving attribution.


Martin Liebermann

The Courage to Lead